Historically, the Corolla has hit the small sedan sweet spot of practical size, good performance, and admirable fuel economy. As long as you're not looking for a fun-to-drive driving experience, the Corolla is a solid choice. It's one of the quietest in its class, but engine drone can sometimes be pronounced. Expect 29 mpg overall. While ride quality is absorbent and unobtrusive, handling is uninspiring -- though secure. The cabin offers good access and a decent rear seat, but the driving position is a bit compromised due to a steering wheel that's too far away. Stability control and side curtain airbags were rare options for the pre-2009 Corolla, so it might be tricky to find one thus equipped. Without curtain airbags, the car scored a Poor in IIHS crash tests. If your budget permits, we recommend a 2009 or later Corolla, as these provide much better crash protection.